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Sittingbourne

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"SITTINGBOURNE, a parish, seaport, and market town in the hundred of Milton, lathe of Scray, county Kent, 7 miles W. of Faversham, 11 S.E. of Rochester, and 15 W. of Canterbury. It is a station on the London, Chatham, and Dover railway, and has a branch line over the Swale to Sheerness in the Isle of Sheppy. It is situated on the Roman and Watling Street, still the high road from London to Dover, and near Milton Creek, a navigable branch of the Swale. It was anciently a market town and place of considerable importance, being situated on the direct route to the Continent, before the introduction of railways, but subsequently declined, till of late years the market has been revived, and the town much enlarged. The Northwoods, at the Lion, entertained Henry V. here in 1420 at a cost of 9s. 9d., and the Lushingtons, at the George, received George I. and II. It was incorporated by Queen Elizabeth under a mayor and jurats, and empowered to send members to parliament, but this latter privilege was never exercised. The town consists principally of one long street, called the High-street, and several new streets running from the railway station. On the north slope of the hill overlooking the creek is the adjoining town of Milton. The population of the two towns in 1861 was 6,984, of which number 4,301 were in Sittingbourne, and 2,683 in Milton. The principal public buildings are Gordelier's public rooms, formerly the George hotel, where the magistrates for the division meet twice a month, and where the Sittingbourne branch of the Faversham savings-bank is held; the corn exchange in High-street, the new police court, also in High-street, two banks, and the Crown quay. A large Congregational church, Wesleyan chapel, and Trinity Church, have been recently built, with National schools for 360 children. The exports are corn, wool, bricks, and road metal for the metropolis; and coals are imported. The principal trade is derived from the transit of passengers, and the supply of the surrounding district. There are paper and corn mills in the parish of Sittingbourne, and some oil and cement mills. A considerable number of boats are engaged in the dredging for oysters in the Swale. Sittingbourne is a polling-place for East Kent, and the seat of anew County Court, which is held monthly. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury, gross value £300, in the patronage of the archbishop. The parish church, dedicated to St. Michael, was rebuilt, except the tower and external walls, in 1762, after a fire. There are National and Sunday schools, also an extramural cemetery recently laid out. Theobald, the editor of Shakspeare, was a native of Sittingbourne. Corn-market day is Friday. Fairs are held at Whitsuntide and Michaelmas."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 by Colin Hinson ©2010]

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Historical Geography

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